Pride restored as Leeds Carnegie hit back to beat Rotherham Titans

Iain Thornley tries to evade Pale Nonu of Rotherham. PIC: Steve Riding
Iain Thornley tries to evade Pale Nonu of Rotherham. PIC: Steve Riding
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Leeds Carnegie came from behind to record their seventh Championship win in succession as they defeated Yorkshire rivals Rotherham Titans at Headingley Carnegie.

Leeds, seeking revenge for the 22-18 defeat at the hands of Rotherham at Clifton Lane in early September were made to work hard for their victory.

But eventually they got on top in the second half as the visitors tired to record a victory which leaves them five points adrift of leaders Bristol.

Bristol travel to London Scottish tomorrow before Diccon Edwards’ Leeds put their unbeaten run on the line at the Memorial Ground tomorrow week.

Carnegie had the better of the early exchanges as they looked to stamp their authority on the match.

The hosts earned a penalty from a clever kick by Joe Ford that was well chased by Lee Blackett. Leeds opted to go to touch and then enjoyed a number of phases in the Titans half.

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Eventually they earned a penalty which this time Tommy Bell opted to kick for goal and he gave his side a 3-0 lead after five minutes.

Rotherham responded well with some brutal challenges going in from both sides. They levelled the score after 11 minutes when Garry Law kicked a simple penalty chance before putting his side in front three minutes later when Leeds were penalised for excessive rucking after the Titans turned over possession in the tackle.

The home side had their best passage of play after that setback as they looked to put width on the ball and use their back line.

The momentum was created by some powerful runs by Mike MacDonald then quick hands saw Joe Barker and Iain Thornley make great breaks only for the final pass to go down on both occasions.

Carnegie were looking to play with quick ball and were getting frustrated with the tactics of the visitors.

However, they were given short shrift by referee Ian Tempest and found themselves being marched back down field by the official.

Law missed his third attempt at goal before making it 9-3 just before the half hour mark when Leeds were penalised in midfield.

The home side managed to cut the deficit just before half time when Bell kicked his second penalty when Rotherham were caught offside 20 metres from their own line.

If the first half had been a cagey affair, the second half was a much open encounter with both teams finding space to attack their opposition. Rotherham had a chance to extend their lead after just two minutes but Law’s penalty effort hit the outside of the post and rebounded away.

Joe Ford levelled the score after six minutes of the half with a drop goal as Leeds were playing advantage for a penalty.

However, once again this season, the home side were caught flat footed at the re-start as the Titans came right back to score the first try of the game.

Tom Foden created the chance with a great break through the defence before back row Robin Copeland finally went over for the try. Law added the conversion to put his side 16-9 in front.

Ford added his second drop goal after 52 minutes before good work by the forwards saw Ryan Burrows released Michael Stephenson to score in the corner. Bell was again on target to put Leeds 19-16 in front.

Edwards used his bench wisely with Pete Lucock, Mo Mustafa and Danny Paul all have big impacts on their arrival in the game.

Importantly, Ford kept the scoreboard ticking over with a club record third drop goal of the game and Leeds looked to be in complete control.

Law landed his fourth penalty of the game three minutes later and the match was set up for a grandstand finish.

Even when Bell kicked a penalty to extend the lead to six points with as many minutes to go, the result was still in doubt.

And there was late drama as Leeds were penalised at their own scrum and Rotherham looked to score a game-winning try however a penalty for holding on put an end to their hopes and Carnegie held on.

Yorkshire Carnegie captain 
Richard Mayhew is out injured for six weeks. Picture: Steve Riding.

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